Beautifully painted miniatures. We’ve all seen them somewhere, be it at a friend’s house, a gaming club, online, or perhaps at a games store such as a Games Workshop. Most of us would love to have our own games painted like that, but we just don’t have the skill. Or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
That’s what I did for years, and many of my friends felt the same way. And as a result of that lack of confidence we never picked up a brush. I was positive that any attempt I made would leave my game pieces ruined. Is that how you feel? If so, please keep reading.
After years of staring at tables full of grey plastic, I decided that almost anything would be better. So I picked some miniatures that I wouldn’t be upset if I made a mess of (Mice And Mystics as it happens) looked up some pictures and online tutorials, and decided to have a go.
Firstly I went online, did a google search for a good starter set of paint brushes for miniatures (I ended up buying a set from The Army Painter) and did the same for paints, which led to me buying some paints from the Vallejo range. There seem to be quite a number of good paints out there, so anything reputable would probably have been fine. Some people even manage very good results with £1 bottles of paint. I also bought some aerosol/spray cans of primer, and lacquer (which is applied after painting to seal and protect the paint).
Now, I’m only an amateur. A real amateur. Growing up, I didn’t do art at school. I never learned how to paint, or even draw. Basically, I had zero practice and even less skill than anyone reading this. Trust me, if I can do this, you can too!
So I started with 1 game, and found that even just with a spray of primer from the can, the pieces looked better. I was surprised by just how much better! I thought, “even if I can’t do anything else I can do this.”
You can too. With a little bit of research and practice, you can get your miniatures looking a lot better. You might not think so now, but trust me, you can. Those great looking miniatures you’ve seen? No one starts off like that. It takes years of practice to get that good, but you can get a decent tabletop quality surprisingly fast. My personal viewpoint is that a bad paint job still looks better than no paint job.
My advice would be to buy some miniatures online, maybe through a site like eBay, just cheaply to practice on. That way, you don’t have to stress about messing up a game that you care about . Then when you feel ready and you’ve had some practice, start with a small game. If you start off with a game with a huge number of miniatures you could start to feel overwhelmed.
As I’ve said above, I’m an amateur. As I type this, I’m still only working on my 3rd project. But I’m enjoying it. Sure, I make mistakes, as you will too, but I find the painting to be relaxing, which I wasn’t expecting. And when I got my miniatures to the table, the game looked so much better and was more fun and immersive to play.
So I highly recommend it. After all, what have you got to lose? If you really are unhappy with the results, you can take a spray can of primer and basically reset them, although I wouldn’t recommend doing that more than once.
So I’m going to share my own painting journey with you. Not because I’m a pro, but because I’m an amateur. I’m hoping you can learn from my mistakes and benefit from tips I pick up along the way. I’m going post articles here with each painting project that I work on, sometimes with videos (via our YouTube channel), and also with pictures. You can also follow our Meddlesome Meeples instagram account by clicking the links at the bottom of the page, as I share pictures on there too.
IN our next article we’ll start by looking at how we prepare our miniatures for painting. So go and grab yourself some cheap miniatures and I’ll see you there!
CHEEKY DISCLAIMER: as stated above I’m not a professional painter, I’m an amateur. Anything you do with your games is your own responsibility. Unless they look awesome, then I’ll happily take credit for your artistic genius. You’re welcome by the way. But if they look like a paint factory exploded all over some miniatures that had been previously damaged in a horrific barbecue incident then I’m afraid that’s all on you. It’s all your fault.
The Meddlesome Meeples accepts no responsibility for bad paint jobs, not even our own as it happens. Right then, that’s enough to satisfy the lawyers I think.